Thursday
September 18, 2014

NAR's 1996 President Offers Vision for 21st Century

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NAR's 1996 President Offers Vision for 21st Century

To say that Art Godi has "walked a mile in the shoes" of the typical real estate licensee would be an understatement. Walked, driven, ridden, and flown would be more accurate.

Godi, 1996 president of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, has logged hundreds of thousands of miles to spend time with REALTORS® as a real estate educator for more than 20 years and as one of the elected leaders of the 750,000-strong REALTOR® organization in recent years.

His observations of the everyday concerns of real estate professionals have left their mark. Godi says he has a simple mission as NAR president: to make sure the Association helps its members meet their often formidable needs.

"The things they care about aren't always the things we talk about" in Association meetings, he says. He's looking for ways to enhance communication between the National Association and members to ensure that their needs are clear.

One way: He'll travel a lot. The one-on-one contact with REALTORS® is vitally important as a way to learn about members' interests and concerns, Godi believes.

He says his goals for the year fall into three major categories: legislative, legal, and internal Association issues.

Legislative

Godi says the Association's focus must be on preserving the mortgage interest deduction, no matter what other changes are made to the U.S. tax code. "Our focus has to be on preserving something worthwhile for, admittedly, our business," he says, "but beyond that, for homeowners and the economy."

His other priorities: preserving the fundamental purpose of the FHA while streamlining the federal agency and helping members deal with new regulations on lead-based paint used in properties.

Legal

Godi's emphasis on legal outreach programs is born of both personal observations and talks with many others. "I'm sensing in my own office as well as around the country that a lot of people are getting tired of the game of sue and settle," he says, noting that most lawsuits never go to trial but still cost a lot.

"People are running scared," he adds. He says the Association needs to be proactive about helping its members educate themselves about risk reduction, and he notes that NAR is in the midst of implementing a major legal outreach and education effort approved by the NAR Board of Directors in 1994.

REALTOR® Organization

Godi wants to involve more members in the decisions that affect them and to reduce fragmentation in member services, which is leading to confusion, duplication, and unnecessary expense. "If we're going to be strong, we need to pull together," he adds.

"Your REALTOR® organization at all three levels--local, state, and national--is standing at the crossroads of change," Godi explains. "There's much that we do very well, and we must retain our basic principles and build on proven successes. But technology is reshaping how real estate professionals do business. Success in the future will require us to do many things a different way."

To help its members succeed in this new world, the REALTOR® organization is reexamining how it does business. Godi sketches a vision of the way REALTORS® could operate in the 21st century:

"Imagine having easy and immediate access to all products and services you need to be successful in meeting the needs of your clients and customers, in managing your businesses, in running your companies--whether those tools come from the REALTOR® organization or from private vendors.

"And imagine being able to access those tools with a single call, whether that means dialing the number of your local or state association, dialing an 800 number, clicking on an icon on a computer screen, or sending a fax. Now imagine that you can get, from the same source, an evaluation of all those products and services by someone who understands your business needs.

"How much time could you save, how much more productive could you be, how much more satisfied with your services would your clients and customers be if someone had already uncovered the real 'gems'--the best tools available--and then let you know what they were and how to get them?"

Godi expects this vision to guide the REALTOR® organization for the rest of the decade as it reshapes its focus and operations.

Not surprisingly, given this attitude, Godi says strong member participation and cooperation will be key to the Association's successes in 1996. "It doesn't matter which person gets the merit badge," he notes. "If we can tackle the challenges ahead of us as a team, it's amazing how much we can accomplish."

GODI AT A GLANCE

Hometown: Stockton, Calif.
Business: Principal, Art Godi, REALTORS®, specializing in residential and commercial real estate, with one office, nine salespeople
Education: Graduate, Stanford University. CRS® designation from Residential Sales Council; CRB from Real Estate Brokerage Managers Council; Graduate, REALTOR® Institute
Family: Wife, Joyce, and four children
Favorite motivational quotation: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.--Henry David Thoreau
Two best books on making it in business: How to Succeed With People, Stephen R. Covey; Megatrends, John Naisbitt
Recently read for pleasure: Spencerville, Nelson DeMille
Hobbies: Sports fanaticplays golf and tennis; enjoys watching sports. Loves theater.
Best advice for real estate rookies: Expect a lot of hard work and a very challenging business. It's not easy, and it's becoming more complex all the time. But if you understand what we're really doing--that we're fulfilling people's needs and wants--the rewards and the satisfaction are well worth it. I don't remember who said this, but I love to repeat it because it's the way clients and customers feel: "I don't care how much you know about real estate until I know how much you care about me."

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